In a relief to John Abraham, Bombay High Court on Friday granted the Bollywood actor bail, hours after he was taken into police custody when a sessions court dismissed his plea against the 15-day imprisonment awarded to him in a 2006 rash driving case.
"Considering the fact that the victims suffered only simple injuries and the accused has been on bail throughout, he (John) may be released on bail," Justice R.C. Chavan said ordering the release of the actor and suspending his sentence.
Two men were injured in the incident. Abraham(39) was asked to deposit Rs 20,000 to secure the bail.
The actor’s counsel Abad Ponda earlier said no negligence or rashness in driving was shown by Abraham and the injuries to the two victims were simple in nature.
He said the actor had himself taken the victims to the hospital after the accident. When the judge asked if Abraham had tried to settle the matter with the injured, his lawyer said attempts to sort out the issue failed to fructify.
"Since the accused is a celebrity, such matters get publicised and hence a settlement could not be worked out," Ponda said.
The Sessions Court earlier in the day dismissed Abraham’s plea challenging the 15-day simple imprisonment awarded to him by the trial court.
Upholding his conviction, Sessions Judge N.V. Navkhar ordered his detention, following which he was taken into police custody.
The court also rejected the actor’s plea seeking time to surrender before the trial court following which he quickly moved the High Court for relief.
On October 14, 2010, the Metropolitan Magistrate Court at Bandra had convicted Abraham in the case of rash driving in which two persons were injured and sentenced him to a 15-day jail term.
He was, however, granted bail the same day. A fortnight later, the model-actor filed an appeal in the Sessions Court against the conviction.
His appeal stated that "judge has misconstrued and has, without applying the principles relating to the acts of rashness and criminal negligence, convicted the applicant (John)".
The incident occurred on April 8, 2006, when Abraham rammed his Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle into a bicycle on Carter Road in suburban Bandra, injuring two people – Shyam Kasbe (22) and Tanmay Majhi (19).
According to police, the actor was returning from Maureen Wadia’s Gladrags show and the victims were going home after closing their shop when the mishap happened.
The police later booked Abraham under IPC Sections 279 (rash driving or riding on a public way) and 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).
The actor in his application before the high court challenging the sessions court order and seeking bail has said the victims, during their cross examination before the magistrate’s court, had not specifically said that they were hit by his bike.
The petition cited Manjhi’s statement during his cross examination according to which Abraham’s bike was 35 feet away when he fell down.
"I do not know how I fell and suffered injuries," he had said in his deposition.
"Hence it is clear that the incident did not happen due to John ramming his bike into the cycle. The accident is because of some other reason. There is no material to show that John was riding the bike in a rash and negligent manner. AT the most, he should be fined under section 279 of IPC instead of being imprisoned," the application states.(PTI)